Friday, January 30, 2009

Grandma's Now To Allow Headphones

Grandma's marathon runners can now use headphones do listen to their mp3 players.

But organizers urge headsets be left at home: Your race experience will be greatly enhanced by having complete use of all of your senses.

I was aware that most sanctioned road races banned headphone use by runners in order to comply with the rules of USA Track and Field (USATF). I was unaware that last month, USATF lifted the ban, clearing the way for Grandma's and other races to decide on their own whether to allow headphones.

I love my iPod. Use it all the time on training. I like that the option is now up to the race organizer to allow or not. If a race would allow, I probably would wear headphones. If they didn't, it wouldn't bother me. Honestly, I've always liked the occasional back-and-forth that can occur with fellow runners during a race but its is nice to have a 'power song' come on and help get you through a killer hill or something.

And of note, with the Nike Plus iPod comb, I can actually set my distance (such as a 5K) and program it not play any music but give me distance splits only. That way, I'm technically deaf and can still be audibly aware of my surroundings.

Of course, I'd never wear during a tri as you would lose too much time in transition...not to mention making the bike leg ultra-dangerous. Believe it or not, I did see people using mp3 players during bike legs at several triathlons last season. Flabbergasted.

What do you think? Should headphones be allowed during road races? Why or why not?


MHarks said...

I personally vote no, It further evens the playing field in my opinion, and it also furthers the social aspect of the race

Brian said...

The Star Tribune had a follow-up op-ed piece on this story. I especially like the last paragraph:

And the serious athletes? They can take care of themselves. If MP3 players spoil the event for them, let them focus on triathlons. Runners who can't stop to put on socks won't mess with iPods. Those people are animals.

bpogo3 said...

I think it should be up to the runners and not the event organizers. The serious athletes in the event (those actually trying to win the race and/or prizes) should not be wearing them IMHO but for the rest of us who are primarily training to keep in some form of shape besides rotund, it should be our personal preference as to whether we wear them or not.

I use the Nike iPod system while running and also to keep track of mileage. The older I get it seems the less time I have for listening to music. The hour a day or so running allows me to plug in the iPod and enjoy my music as the local fare offered by the TC stations is all dreck. I also don't train in downtown Mpls where I encounter a lot of other runners or traffic, plus I don't keep the volume headbanging loud such that I still can't hear the road noise around me. Just my $0.02.